FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 15, 2018
Contact: COUNTY EXECUTIVE PRESS OFFICE
631-853-4000 | Press.Office@suffolkcountyny.gov
PHOTOS & TRANSCRIPT: SUFFOLK COUNTY EXECUTIVE BELLONE CALLS ON STATE LEGISLATORS TO ALLOCATE FUNDING FOR ROUTE 347 CONSTRUCTION
PHOTOS of the event will be available here.
Today, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone called on the New York State Senate and Assembly to allocate funding to continue construction on Route 347. Only 4.3 miles of the approximately 15 mile corridor has been completed so far.
A rush transcript of the County Executive’s remarks is available below:
County Executive Bellone: Thank you very much for being here. First of all let me thank Marc Herbst, the Executive Director of Long Island Contractors’ Association for the great work that he does and his organization does for fighting for this region. And that’s what this is about. That’s why we are gathered out here today. We are fighting for Suffolk County, for Long Island, for our region, for the jobs that are critical, the men and women of labor who are here, who form the backbone of our communities. These jobs are absolutely critical.
You know when you talk about shovel ready projects, this project is as shovel ready as you can get. It is as Marc said, it has been planned, designed, four miles of it has been constructed. It is ready to go. The workers are there, the men and women of labor who are working on this job are ready to go, the only thing that is lacking here is the will. It is the money, but it is not the money, it’s the will to get it done. We absolutely need this funding and there are a couple of things that I will say here.
First of all, in New York, you know Marc referenced this, where is the money coming from, you know where is the money going? Long Island, we, as Long Islanders send $23 billion more dollars to Washington than we get in return right now. Where is some of the money going? Part of it is going to finance a tax cut that is going to force Long Islanders to send billions more than we already send. It is disgraceful. Second thing I will say, I’ve said this for many years, when is our nation going to get back into the business of investing in infrastructure. Infrastructure is critical to everything. How many more bridges do we have to see collapse in this country before we get serious again as a nation about investing in our infrastructure? And all my colleagues here, our supervisors, my colleagues at the state level, legislator Kennedy- my colleague in county government, our highway superintendents, we all understand that in order to grow our economy on long Island we have to invest in infrastructure. In order for us to protect our water quality on Long Island, which is critical to us, we have to invest in infrastructure. You know, we as a region, as an island, are at greater risk of climate change than any other region in our country or as much as any other in the world. In projects like this that are creating different transportation options, you have a hike-way and a bike-way, those are exactly the kind of projects we need to be promoting. In every aspect, this project, Route 347, is something that we should be investing in as a nation, as a state.
The fact we are standing here today and have to fight to make this happen shows you that something is seriously wrong here. I want to thank Governor Cuomo as Marc did and our State leadership that is here, Assemblyman Fitzpatrick that is here and our good friend Assemblyman Englebright, the leader of our caucus here, the leader of our delegation here. I want to thank them for fighting for these projects and the investments the state has made. I know Assemblyman Englebright was a leader in getting this road to where it is today, but we need to do more. Suffolk County, we are going to continue to invest in our infrastructure and work with our State partners to make sure a project like this and other projects Marc mentioned happen. Thank you very much.